The words of the title of a horror movie appear in this story somewhere. If you can guess the title (and win a prize!) or you want to read more short short fiction (you can vote on which you like), check out the Friday Flash site.
The air hung heavy, portentous curtains muffling any activity but watching. Occasionally there was a push of wind—a practice gust, directed and forceful instead of the random zephyrs and eddies of a sunny summer day, but enough to flatten grass and churn dust. It wasn’t sunny. Wispy puffballs of clouds had scudded east to more congenial regions and our sky was blanketed with gray and grayer coils and snarls out of a sheep’s nightmare. Somewhere, the wind was moving fast—we’d been under a tornado watch for hours, finally upgraded to a warning—but these same globs simmered over our street, blotting out all the blue.
My mother would not go inside. An old armchair had been redecorated out of the living room but never made it to the curb, and she’d settled into it as finally as it had settled onto the porch. A glass of iced tea sat on the rail, moisture coagulating until beads of it were drug down the sides. My mother flicked pages of a magazine that I expected to be ripped from her hands at any moment to join a black and white torrent of haystacks, houses, neighbor ladies on bicycles.
The first thunder rumbled. While my fingertips still tingled, aftershocks shuddered out from deep within the cloud bank. The leaves of the elm next to the porch shivered. The undersides of their leaves were nearly white.
My mother looked up from the magazine. “This is going to be a good one.”
“We should go down to the basement now.”
“We’ve got plenty of time. It’s exciting to watch them roll in, isn’t it.”
There was another gust, a swirl of exhale, and then the breezes shuddered into one steady current. A car drove by, headlights illuminating the empty street.
“We should go inside.”
“We’re fine. This is a big system.” She reached forward, swept the droplets off the tea glass and took a long swallow. I walked to the edge of the porch and peered out. The slow roll in the cauldron around us had acquired direction. I stepped back under the eaves.
“You can go in if you want, but I’m going to watch for a while longer.” She flipped the magazine shut and leaned back in the chair, stretched her feet to prop them on the railing.
The first drops of rain smacked the ground. I unlatched the screen door and went inside.